Now, “amazing” is something that is used on an almost daily basis in the perfume marketing world, so here at The Sniff, we always take “amazing” with a pinch of salt. That said, Bloom is staffed by very clever people who know perfume, and who are genuinely passionate about their products, so we couldn’t really ignore a recommendation like that.
And oh lordy, it turns out that Nikkos-Oskol fragrances are amazing.
Honestly, you have to try this stuff.
Nikkos-Oskol are a Russian brand, and they’ve been around for at least the last six or seven years (it’s hard to give you a more accurate date than that because their website is in Russian, but the oldest references to them we could find were around the 2011 mark).
What makes Nikkos-Oskol different to regular perfumes is that they have zero alcohol in them. In their formulas, alcohol and water have been replaced by what their website describes as “universal emollients”, so basically oils. These oil-based fragrances moisturise the skin instead of drying it as alcohol can, making them good for people who have sensitive skin. And basically anyone who wants to smell like some sort of divine creature as well.
The other great thing about this company is that they have a massive range. Bloom’s website lists around 12 different fragrances, and Nikkos-Oskol’s own website shows around 20. They’re handmade in small batches and the company controls everything from sourcing materials to sealing the bottles.
No 7 is described as a linear fragrance, that is to say that rather than the notes changing as the perfume warms and dries on your skin, all the notes reveal themselves at once. That said, we did find that this perfume changed the longer we wore it, so for ease of comparison we have stuck to our usual top, heart and base note form to review this one.
The first thing we detected upon applying this scent was a glorious wave of almond. Not sweet and sticky marzipan but instead a slightly bitter, dry nuttiness. It’s dense and delicious and lacks the obvious gourmand-type impression that often accompanies an edible note. But we really liked that about it, it was surprising but deftly handled.
To add to the intrigue, neither Bloom nor Nikkos-Oskol list almond in the notes for this fragrance, but there seemed little doubt to us that it was there. What do you think? Do you get almond from it or is it something else? Get in touch via our contact form, Facebook or Twitter and let us know.
There’s also a dried leaf note detectable. Upon first noticing it we thought tobacco, but not burning tobacco, instead it’s more like the tobacco leaves are drying. As we’ve worn the fragrance more that impression of drying leaves has become stronger and more apparent. It’s a little softer than a tobacco-leaf scent and has hints of greenery about it.
The almond note announces itself first and, because it’s a linear fragrance, it never really goes away, but it does fade into the chorus quite quickly. After wearing the fragrance for 30 minutes to an hour, it had really settled into the skin and a wonderful petrichor type note emerged. There was stone, and rain, and wind (so, an ozone note) in this fragrance. It’s tremendously emotive and interesting. As it was worn we couldn’t resist taking a sniff of it again and again to see what delights it had for us at any given moment.
The lasting impression that this perfume leaves on the skin is a windswept day in the Scottish highlands, on the edge of a pine forest (okay, so it’s more likely to be the Russian taiga, but we’ve never been there). There’s a dry resinous note, hints of pine and moss.
You’re stood at the edge of a thicket of pine trees, a rain shower has just passed overhead soaking the granite outcroppings but leaving the dense carpet of needles underfoot dry.
This is what number 7 smells like. And who wouldn’t want to smell like that?
The other stuff
This fragrance isn’t “shouty” as in it doesn’t announce itself as soon as you walk in the room and doesn’t seem to project too far from the wearer. This isn’t a criticism in the slightest. No 7 is an effortless, sophisticated scent and as a result it doesn’t beat other people over the head as soon as they get near you.
The longevity is one of the things that using an oil rather than alcohol really enhances. This perfume lasts and lasts. It does mellow on the skin but it does this amazing thing (possibly because it’s moisturising?) where the smell of the fragrance and the smell of your skin seem to meld together. With most perfumes they smell like they sit “on” the skin, rather than “in” it. But with oil as a carrier the scent becomes part of your skin for a while, making it all the more delicious.
This scent is very wearable by anyone male, female or otherwise. It perhaps strays slightly over to the stereotypically masculine edge of the spectrum, but really anyone could comfortably wear it. It’s quite a cold scent so would be good in Winter, but equally the clash of that coolness with a bright Summer day would make for an interesting contrast.
When you see the size of the bottle coupled with the price you are going to think “screamingly expensive”. Nikkos-Oskol retails for £98 for a mere 35ml extrait in oil. BUT, you need such a tiny amount that it’s very hard to compare that outlay with a regular perfume where it might cost less but you would use twice as much at each wearing.
Nikkos-Oskol fragrances are available exclusively at Bloom Perfume London who very kindly supplied a sample of this to us. We wouldn’t want you to think for a moment though that this influenced our review though, the quality and sophistication of this product has totally blown us away. Try it, you’ll see exactly what we mean!